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August 2, 2005
Gray Lady Weeps Over Bolton Appointment

The New York Times editorial board works itself into quite an emotional state this morning over the recess appointment of John Bolton to the UN. In fact, their editorial today goes so far as to praise Condoleezza Rice's performance at State, which they haven't bothered to do as a stand-alone opinion, just to take a swipe at Bolton:

If there's a positive side to President Bush's appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, it's that as long as Mr. Bolton is in New York, he will not be wreaking diplomatic havoc anywhere else. Talks with North Korea, for instance, have been looking more productive since Mr. Bolton left the State Department, and it's hard not to think that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's generally positive performance in office is due, in part, to her canniness in dispatching Mr. Bolton out of Washington.

The editors just spew nonsense in this lead. Rice has long been one of Bolton's most public supporters, arguing strongly for his confirmation and yesterday speaking in support of his recess appointment. Her decision to choose a more low-key undersecretary instead of Bolton obviously resulted from a decision made by Rice and Bush to send Bolton to the UN after John Danforth resigned.

The Times gets even more silly with this statement:

There is plenty to complain about at the United Nations, but real work happens there, and it requires the services of men and women who know how to wring agreement out of a group of wildly different and extremely self-interested representatives.

All this proves is that the Times, despite calling itself the Paper of Record, does little checking of the record on its own. The Times may not recall the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), for which the Arms Control Association credits Ambassador Bolton as chief architect. He got a dozen nations to agree to the treaty to interdict WMD components during shipping. One of those interdictions stopped nuclear material from reaching Iran, as Rice mentioned in a speech two months ago. The ACA credits PSI with helping to convince Libya's Moammar Gaddafi to drop its WMD programs by successfully interdicting shipments of centrifuge components for its nuclear program:

The one successful interdiction that has come to light was an October 2003 operation to seize centrifuge components destined for Libya. U.S. officials credit the interdiction with helping to further convince Libya, which had been conducting secret disarmament negotiations with the United States and United Kingdom for several months, to publicly renounce its WMD ambitions and programs two months later.

He also managed to push through a repeal of the noxious UN resolution equating Zionism with racism in 1991 during his earlier tour at Turtle Bay. If the Times thinks that didn't take some wheedling and diplomacy, then it has neglected its UN beat for far too long.

None of this really matters much, anyway. Bush used the recess appointment to show the Democrats that their irrational obstructionism has rendered them increasingly irrelevant. The same can be said for the editorial board of the New York Times.

UPDATE: We're getting some traffic from James Wolcott, whose idea of biting wit is to say that I look like a child molester and that CQ commenters are "several rungs down the evolutionary ladder". Small minds generate small thoughts, and I also notice that Wolcott doesn't have the guts to allow comments on his site. Anyway, welcome aboard.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 2, 2005 6:48 AM

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